Being present during Circle Keeping, 5 tips.

What does being present mean for you when you facilitate Restorative Justice Peacemaking Circles? 

I am re-starting my work in the world of Restorative Justice.  I stepped away to be present in my

new marriage and for the family ranch.  My presence to those two things resulted in our marriage heading for a 3 year anniversary and Miner Ranch expanding to include sheep, a guard dog and donkey.  The presence I made in my life for those two things Hubs & Ranch, developed my presence for Peacemaking Circles.

Marriage is an intimate relationship, and it requires communication, conflict resolution, patience and all sorts of good things to make it good.  One the ranch side of developing presence I was dealing with prey animals (horses and sheep).  They have to sense your energy to survive.  To have to be calm and in harmony for them to allow you to touch them, keep them calm and even assist with the delivery of  a new lamb if needed.  How does this relate to being present in a Peacemaking Circle?

You have to have the fluidness of responding to what is happening in the Circle, while at the same time you hold the knowledge of what to do.  I have recently started some equine related education and training, and this is from our training materials, created by Veronica Lac:

There is so much I love about this paragraph.  It is written in the context of doing equine facilitated learning sessions, and it speaks beautifully to being present in Circle.

At a recent training, I did a Circle with youth, to model for the teachers, how an actual Circle would look.  In the debriefing process someone pointed out how the group observing laughed (appropriately) at something the young person said.  At the same time, I was observed to remain listening.  This is being present.

My 5 tips for being more present in Circle:

  • practice, be present for the barista making your coffee, be present to yourself at a stop light, be present to your coworker at lunch.
  • work on your inner “harmony”,  are you able to “be” in Circle, and not worry about doing it right, forgetting the next question, wondering if you are being judged.  It takes practice.
  • get the ‘outline’ for Circle memorized, once you know it, you can be more at ease.  I teach a “rail road crossing” metaphor.  If the link to that post doesn’t show up by 10/2/18 remind me.
  • Use the 4 phases: Getting Acquainted – Building Relationships-Addressing Issues – Taking Actions.
  • Review the 7 core principles of Peacemaking Circles, here.